Press Releases

Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla (both D-Calif.) today introduced the Clean Drinking Water for Rural Communities Act, which would make more rural American communities eligible for USDA water and wastewater programs to increase access to safe drinking water.

  “Too many rural agricultural communities in California and throughout the country lack access to safe drinking water because of nitrates and other toxic chemicals from agricultural runoff. Many of these communities are forced to rely on bottled water instead of using of their local pumps,” Senator Feinstein said. “This bill makes communities in the Central Valley and elsewhere in California become eligible for existing USDA programs to help fix their water issues.”

 Introduced last week, the Clean Drinking Water for Rural Communities Act would change the eligibility threshold for USDA water and wastewater programs from 10,000 residents to 20,000 residents for investments that help communities comply with federal and state drinking water standards.

 Many communities in need do not qualify for assistance under the 10,000-resident threshold, but are too small to be competitive for alternative funding sources, like EPA drinking water programs.

 This bill is targeted specifically to clean drinking water programs and would not alter eligibility thresholds for other USDA Rural Development programs.